'Obviously, not happy about it': Jazz fall 2 spots to No. 10 in NBA draft lottery

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz had a 6% chance to win Sunday's NBA lottery. They also had a 6% chance of slipping to the No. 10 spot.

One of those things happened.

Unfortunately for Jazz fans, it wasn't the good one.

The Houston Rockets (via Brooklyn) and Atlanta Hawks both jumped ahead of the Jazz during Sunday's lottery, and the Jazz will now pick at No. 10 in next month's draft.

Utah had the eighth-best odds of winning the lottery, and a 25% chance of reaching the top four. The irony? The Jazz went 5-25 down the stretch to tank past the Hawks and the Nets. Those losses ultimately cost them a top-four selection. That's the risk of playing the lottery.

"Obviously, not happy about it; we'd rather stay at eight or move up," Jazz VP of player personnel Bart Taylor said. "But we've been studying the draft already for the eighth pick. And there's still a lot of players there that we like. And I think we'll still get a good player at 10."

Taylor did offer up a semi-bright side of the fall. He thinks the Jazz will now be able to get more players into Salt Lake City for workouts. Players projected to go in the late-lottery or mid-first round might have otherwise scoffed at the idea of coming to Utah believing they didn't have much chance of being selected at No. 8.

"As you move higher up in the draft, you get access to less players, because people don't believe that they're actually (going to be considered)," Taylor said. "The agents do their work to see where their guys will go. And so I think by falling to 10, we actually are going to have more access to guys. Maybe the guys who are going to go 14, 15, 16, we can convince them to come in for No. 10. So it may actually in a weird way, give us more access to players."

That sounds like quite the spin zone, but in a draft filled with uncertainty, there might be something to it, too. There isn't a consensus top player in the 2024 class, and there's far from a consensus top 10.

Taylor compared it to the 2013 draft when Anthony Bennett was taken No. 1 overall. The best two players in that draft ended up being the No. 15th pick (Giannis Antetokounmpo) and the No. 27th pick (Rudy Gobert). So getting a chance to see more prospects isn't the worst thing. Though, staying at No. 8 would have been preferred.

"You just didn't know who was gonna go No. 1 and then kind of everyone's just picking guys that they have a preference on and they like more than others," Taylor said. "So I think it'll be interesting."

And if there is a player the Jazz really like at the top of the draft, Taylor conceded the price to move up may be lower than in previous years. But that player also might not be out there at all.

"How motivated are you to move up if you're not sure that the player is going to be an All-Star player either," he said. "So I think it's kind of like a double-edged sword, right? It might be cheaper to move up, but do you still want to move up or do you just kind of live with whoever ends up at your pick?"

The Jazz also own the No. 29 and No. 32 picks in the draft. Do they plan on making all three selections come draft night?

"I get that question a lot," Taylor said. "Not just from media people but around the league. The most basic answer is yeah. Right now we don't have any trades that we've executed on to trade them. We're gonna have conversations around our picks. We're definitely open to discussing them with everybody around the league.

"But as of today, we have all three picks. So the way we operate is that we have to select them. Everyone wants to know, 'What are you going to do with all three picks?' Until someone offers us something that we like, we're going to pick them."

The Jazz weren't the only team with poor luck on Sunday. The Detroit Pistons, who lost a league-record 28 consecutive games, fell from No. 1 to No. 5. The Charlotte Hornets and Portland Trail Blazers each fell three spots, and the Toronto Raptors dropped enough to lose their pick to the San Antonio Spurs.

The Hawks jumped from No. 10 to No. 1, and the Rockets moved from No. 9 to No. 3 in the lottery. The Hawks won the lottery despite having just 3% odds of getting the top pick. The Washington Wizards will draft second.

With the bad hand in the lottery, the Jazz just avoided disaster. If Utah had slipped to No. 11, the team would have lost the pick to Oklahoma City.

"I mean, I'm happy we kept it," Taylor said. "Obviously, I think having a top 10 pick is always better than not having it. But if it had fallen to 11 then we'd be done with that protection to OKC as well."

NBA draft lottery results

  1. Atlanta Hawks
  2. Washington Wizards
  3. Houston Rockets (from Brooklyn)
  4. San Antonio Spurs
  5. Detroit Pistons
  6. Charlotte Hornets
  7. Portland Trail Blazers
  8. San Antonio Spurs (from Toronto)
  9. Memphis Grizzlies
  10. Utah Jazz
  11. Chicago Bulls
  12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Houston)
  13. Sacramento Kings
  14. Portland Trail Blazers (from Golden State)

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